Group of 8 Now Group of 7: Russia’s OutBy: Lacy Langley - March 24, 2014
7 members of the Group of 8 who were supposed to meet in Sochi, Russia in for the G-8 Summit in June met for two hours behind closed doors today. They decided that it would be relocated to Brussels and that Russia is no longer invited until their government changes course, according to the New York Times.
A statement from the Group of 7 read, “This group came together because of shared beliefs and shared responsibilities. Russia’s actions in recent weeks are not consistent with them. Under these circumstances, we will not participate in the planned Sochi Summit. We will suspend our participation in the G-8 until Russia changes course.”
The course they wish to be changed is, of course, President Vladimir Putin’s hasty annexation of Crimea in the past few weeks. This is the latest in a series of steps that the group has taken and will continue to take to further isolate and punish Russia for its actions.
“We remain ready to intensify actions including coordinated sectoral sanctions that will have an increasingly significant impact on the Russian economy, if Russia continues to escalate this situation,” the leaders’ statement said.
Russia’s economy may not be the only one affected. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is ready to take steps, along with several other nations, that may hurt their own economies somewhat. But if it puts the brakes on Russia, she says it would be worth it.
Last week she stated that “we are ready at any time to introduce phase-3 measures if there is a worsening of the situation,” referring to the so-called third stage of sanctions which could very likely be harmful to her own country.
President Obama made clear the stance of the United States and our allies on Monday. He expressed solidarity with Ukraine, saying “Europe and America are united in our support of the Ukrainian government and the Ukrainian people,”
“We’re united in imposing a cost on Russia for its actions so far,” Obama said, adding “the growing sanctions would bring significant consequences to the Russian economy.”
So far the threat of sanctions against Russia have done little to nothing in halting the actions of Vladimir Putin. Time will tell how far these sanctions must go in order to get a satisfactory reaction.
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